Back to Normal

Those first few weeks after learning of the loss of our unborn baby, I found myself living in this tension–on the one hand, I never wanted to move past the deep feeling of grief. I didn't want my baby to be forgotten. There's also a strange comfort in the early stage of grief in that no one expects anything else from you during that time–they know you are grieving, hurting and in pain. It was ok that I just wanted to be at home with my family and distanced from the world. 

On the other hand, sorrow of this magnitude is exhausting–physically, mentally and emotionally. You don't know what to do with your time and everything feels like a fog. There were moments I just wanted to be past it, to not be the woman who just lost her baby. I just wanted to feel "normal" again. 

After a couple weeks, Jordan and I went with our daughter to the mall one Saturday afternoon, to just get out of the house for a little. It was the first outing I'd really had. As we walked around, looking at clothes, observing other shoppers, including some women who were pregnant, I felt a deep sadness and confusion. 

My husband asked how I was doing and all I could reply was, "It just all feels so insignificant. What is the point of any of this? It feels so purposeless."

Though I know intellectually and theologically that my life has purpose and I was created for a reason, that was the first time in my 28 years I ever remember thinking it all seems so futile. 

But in the weeks since, reflecting on that moment has caused me to evaluate what I was really living for prior to our miscarriage.  

Did life feel worth living because I was comfortable? Because my circumstances were favorable and things were going my way? Did I feel loved by God only because of the absence of great pain?

I felt (and still do feel) genuine gratitude for my life. Many times I find myself looking at my husband and our daughter and marvel at how undeserving I am of the life I’ve been given. The reality is that I deserve nothing, but by God’s grace and as his child, I’ve been given the greatest gift, salvation. 

As Westerners especially, we live in a world that doesn’t do well with brokenness. We spend much of our effort, time and money into making life comfortable. And when something goes wrong or our plans for our lives veer off course, we try everything in our power to correct course and get back to “the good life”. 

But my goal now isn’t to get back to comfortable, or at least I'm praying that it wouldn't be. Each new day isn’t given to me that I might serve myself or my own purposes, but that I would be advancing God’s Kingdom with whatever resources he’s given me and whatever tasks are before me–even, as it often looks for me right now, when those tasks are laundry, dishes and changing diapers.

My objective, even if it were possible, shouldn't be to try to go back to how things were before. If the gospel of Jesus Christ is not true, then I should be making my life here as comfortable, pleasant and enjoyable as possible. But I believe and am deeply convinced that Jesus is the only way, truth and life, and thus getting settled in to life here or elevating my comfort is the only thing that is actually futile. 

What if I truly trusted in the God I proclaim as my Savior, that no matter what life brings, he is with me and my life is in his hands? What if I stopped trying to arrange things in such a way that prioritizes comfort over growth? Praying we’d become a people more concerned about His will being done, even (or especially) at the cost of our own will.